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Facts on Oral and Dental Diseases

The oral and dental health is part and parcel of the public health negatively or positively getting affected by it and affecting it. Since the injury rate of the oral and dental diseases in the Gulf Cooperation Council's states, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, increasingly surpasses the developed and developing states alike, it is entailed joining hands and exerting every effort helping reduce the incidence of these diseases, namely the tooth decay afflicting the Gulf Cooperation Council's children.

Accordingly, the percentage of the children, aging six and twelve, suffering from the tooth decay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reached 96% and 93.7% respectively.

Definition of the Tooth Decay:

Tooth decay is a damage experienced by the tooth outer surface, leading to the appearance of holes and cavities. This is caused by set of factors such as bacteria and having the light, repetitive meals and sugary beverages. In similar fashion, the tooth decay is considered as among the most widespread health problems worldwide and in all age groups. And, if the tooth decay is not treated, the cavities and holes might get bigger and widen causing severe pains, inflammations, tooth loss and other complications.

Causes:

Bacteria begin to attack the first layer of the teeth; that's to say the enamel:

  • Plaque layer formation: the mouth is like many other parts of the body containing several types of bacteria thriving on the food materials and beverages including specific forms of fermentable sugar and carbohydrates. When these carbohydrates are not removed from the teeth, bacteria quickly begin to feed on it and produce acids. In other words, the existence of the bacteria, food remnants, acids, and saliva is instrumental to forming a hard layer on the teeth known by the plaque.
  • Plaque effect on the teeth: tooth plaque results in the mineral loss forming the enamel and its erosion. As a result, holes are formed leading to the acids and bacteria transmission to the second layer of the teeth (Ivory).
  • Full tooth decay: when the harm caused by the bacteria and acids moves to the third layer of the tooth : pulp involving the blood vessels and nerves and symptoms such as pains when biting the teeth or sensitivity to the hot or cold foods appear , the body begins to resist these bacteria forming white cells resulting in abscess.

Symptoms:

  • Toothaches
  • Slight to severe pains when eating sweets and sugary beverages
  • Tooth sensitivity to the hot or cold foods
  • Feeling pains when biting
  • Holes or cavities in the teeth
  • Pus around the teeth; namely when pressuring the gum

Risk factors causing the tooth decay:  

  • The rear teeth (molar) are more vulnerable to decay as they are exposed to food for long time. This renders them more likely to form the plaque layer in comparison to the front teeth such as fangs and incisors. Even more, their positions make their cleaning harder with the brush and other care methods.   
  • Foods which contain sugar such as sweets and juices 
  • Eating food or small meals repetitively provide bacteria with a permanent source of carbohydrates to thrive on and produce acids. 
  • Nightly bottle-feeding of infants: mother bottle-feeds their infant before sleeping and leaves the milk bottle in their mouth while sleeping. This results in developing the tooth decay for them. 
  • Not taking care of teeth properly: this is through not brushing them regularly after meals and not using the medical thread.
  • Not using the fluoride: it protects teeth as it fights the effect of acid, through restoring the lost minerals to the tooth enamel. 
  • Mouth dryness: it is marked by a low saliva production, andits being low in the mouth leads to increasing the risks of developing the tooth decay. For the saliva contains anti-bodies resisting the acids and bacteria.
  • Poor fillings and dental crowns help develop the tooth decay as a result of the accumulation of bacteria. 
  • Heartburn: the reflux of the acidic stomach fluids towards the mouth is instrumental to eroding the enamel. As a result, it is destroyed and weakened before the attack of the acidic bacteria.  
  • Eating disorders: such as appetite loss or bulimia, increase the likelihood of developing decay. In other words, when the patient throws up, the teeth are exposed to the acidic stomach, leading to the increase of decay risks.  

Complications: 

  • Chewing difficulty
  • Tooth break
  • Tooth nerve inflammation
  • Abscess 
  • Tooth pulling
  • Gum inflammation

Tooth decay prevention:

  • Brushing the teeth after each meal or at least twice daily by using the toothpaste containing the fluoride.  
  • Using the dental thread for cleaning the teeth at least once a day.
  • Visiting the dentist periodically. 
  • Avoiding the foods containing sugar such as sweets and juices. 
  • Eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and cheese for increasing the saliva production protecting the teeth against the effects of acid.
  • Cutting back on eating the light meals for reducing the food on which the bacteria thrive on the mouth.   
  • Being of those vulnerable for developing decay, the doctor recommends using the fluoride rinse.

Treatment:

  • Fluoride treatment: working on protecting the minerals forming the enamel to shield the teeth against the decay.
  • Fillings: when the teeth experience holes, they are repaired by fillings: dental composite or implant at ones.
  • Dental crowning: it is used in case of tooth damage, break, and crack or dental cosmetic procedure.
  • Tooth pulling.